The fundamental goal of those working in professional services is to assist clients through the managing and improving areas of their business, usually offering customized, knowledge-based solutions. Successful professional services depend on the expertise of individuals, meaning services cannot be standardized – instead, profitability is created through face-to-face interaction with clients. So, the ability to continue working when moving from location to location can be a great advantage to those working in these organizations.
The right one for the job
Professional services firms are profitable only when their team members are able to work billable hours, and so incoming work is often assigned to whoever is currently available. This method maximizes revenue in the short term, but can often lead to a decline in quality and client service. This is because employees will have a specialist area of work – tax fraud cases, for example – and as such would, understandably, be the first port of call if a new tax fraud case came through. If that worker is already involved in another case, however, it will be assigned to someone else who is available, who may not be as well-equipped to deal with the complexities of tax fraud cases. Keeping everyone productive is paramount, but scheduling the ‘wrong’ staff members can have a negative impact on client satisfaction.
It is situations such as these where mobile working can showcase real benefits, and is why global firms such as Deloitte, PwC, McKinsey and EY have employed their own mobile apps on Android and iOS for employees and clients alike to use.
Let’s take a law firm, for instance. The day-to-day work of different lawyers will vary according to their areas of expertise, but at the heart of the majority of business transactions are contracts. A standard merger and acquisition (M&A) transaction would generally be broken into four stages, each of which can be improved through mobile technologies:
1. Internal client discussion
A client will identify a potential acquisition, such as an IT company acknowledging a potential relationship with an app developer. The client is keen to proceed, but first wants clarification from the management team. What are the inherent risks, assets and liabilities? How does the IT client ensure it can capitalize on the opportunity? This is where external, professional advice is sought after.
The power of mobile: Create a project immediately while engaging initial client discussions and avoid losing key pieces of information ‘in translation’. Share project dashboards with clients to set up a method for communication as soon as first contact is made.
2. Client seeks preliminary advice
The law firm would:
- Draft confidentiality agreements to ensure the client doesn’t misuse any sensitive information coming from either party.
- Review constitutional documents, company searches and contracts so the client can know whether consent is required from shareholders.
- Review financial information and contracts and advise on whether the transaction requires consent from competition authorities.
- Provide advice on tax risks and structuring.
The power of mobile: Collaborate with colleagues using the power of document management platforms such as Microsoft SharePoint. Create, edit and comment on documents to make the review process as thorough as possible, even when workers are away on different projects. Content can remain secure while mobile with encryption, permission and application level policies.
3. Decision on whether to proceed
As a result of the law firm’s advice, the client decides to proceed, which spawns in-depth research into any risks and liabilities that will enable the client to know whether they want to commit, what they are prepared to pay and what form the contact will take. As a result, a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) is mocked up and intensive negotiations can begin.
The power of mobile: The SPA is a meticulous process, with a lot of time and care required to ensure everything is correct before a deal can be determined. Remote sync capabilities make sure only the most up-to-date documents and files are shared, while still allowing individuals to make changes as they please without interruption. With distance between employees often being a factor, remote sync capabilities can prove invaluable.
Once checks are all run and given the all clear, documentation is in order and a price is agreed upon, all that’s left is to arrange the share transfer.
Before this can be done, however, a completion meeting – either in-person or through email – must be held. This process may involve coordinating many different parties in different jurisdictions. Documents like board minutes, shareholder resolutions, share transfers and certificates all need to be gathered and regulated, any last-minute hitch can sink the entire deal.
Post-completion, the law firm and client have time for relationship-building. After getting to know each other during negotiations, this is the time for securing potential future work.
The power of mobile: Open messaging channels between lawyer and client greatly reduce a lapse in communication at the last hurdle. Maintaining a positive relationship post-completion is also made easier, increasing the likelihood of potential future work.
Take on the power of mobile
SharePlus, from Infragistics, allows users to create a customized mobile workspace for professional services teams. By ensuring team members on client sites or working remotely can easily manage any size project, you can improve the quality of client engagement and have a positive impact on their level of satisfaction.
Through the searching, sharing and collaboration of relevant content, as well as offline access and remote synchronization capabilities, projects can be managed more efficiently with less hassle.
By providing estimation and planning resources, tracking key events and deliverables and planning resource allocation and billable vs. non-billable hours, SharePlus can provide a flexible mobile solution to empower those working in the professional services industry.
For more information on how SharePlus can help you, contact us today or visit the Infragistics site.